Looking for the best macro friendly snacks to keep you on track with your goals? Here are some great choices!
Looking for more nutrition education? My 12-week nutrition course is the best way to learn how to set your macros and calories for weight loss and other fitness goals. It’s the perfect course for dispelling all sorts of nutrition myths!
Hey there – I’m Chantal.
I’m a mom, nutrition coach, and personal trainer. Welcome to my site!
If you’re looking for more information about me, this is the page you’ll want to start with.
Long story short, this website began as my personal accountability journal for getting back on track after having two babies.
I wasn’t a personal trainer or nutrition coach then, but I wanted to share my postpartum journey.
But I struggled with fitness, nutrition, and depression so much that I thought that becoming a personal trainer would help me learn what to do to get healthy again.
That led me to want to learn more about nutrition, so I became a nutrition coach.
Of course, that led me down a rabbit trail of wanting to know more and more about food and fitness.
Related Reading: 25 Delicious Paleo Meal Prep Recipe Ideas
I quickly realized that most people are either very ignorant or very misinformed when it comes to health and fitness.
As such, my blog has slowly morphed into an exploration of the intersection between health, happiness, food, farming, homesteading, homemaking, and everything in between.
In other words, my mission has evolved into a rather complex one instead of just being about postpartum fitness.
But at the risk of losing you to another one of my rants (I’m very passionate), let’s get to the reason you’re here: you need macro-friendly snack ideas.
So let’s talk macros.
When it comes to maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, understanding macronutrients is essential.
Macronutrients are the three main categories of nutrients that provide the energy needed for our bodies to function optimally.
Comprised of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, these “macros” play crucial roles in supporting various bodily functions, from providing energy to supporting growth and repair.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of macronutrients, exploring their individual functions, dietary sources, and their impact on overall health.
Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast, a health-conscious individual, or simply someone curious about nutrition, this article aims to equip you with the knowledge to make informed decisions about your diet.
(I promise I won’t go too far into my nutrition-related conspiracy theories.) 🙂
That includes macro-friendly snacks!
Related Reading: Printable Macro Food List (Free Download!)
Introduction to Macronutrients
Carbohydrates: The Body’s Primary Energy Source
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy.
They are composed of sugars, starches, and fiber.
When consumed, carbohydrates break down into glucose, which fuels our cells and provides the energy required for everyday activities and exercise.
There are two main types of carbohydrates:
a) Simple Carbohydrates: Found in fruits, dairy products, and processed foods, simple carbohydrates are quickly digested and provide rapid bursts of energy. However, excessive consumption of sugary foods can lead to energy spikes and crashes.
b) Complex Carbohydrates: These are found in whole grains, vegetables, and legumes. They provide a steadier and more sustained release of energy, promoting better blood sugar control and long-lasting satiety.
Proteins: The Building Blocks of Life
Proteins are essential for the growth, repair, and maintenance of tissues in our body.
They are made up of amino acids, and there are nine essential amino acids that must be obtained from our diet as our bodies cannot produce them on their own.
Proteins play a vital role in:
- Muscle development and repair: Crucial for athletes and those engaging in strength training.
- Enzyme production: Enzymes facilitate various chemical reactions in the body, supporting digestion and metabolism.
- Hormone synthesis: Hormones regulate various bodily processes, including growth and metabolism.
Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
You Might Also Like: 27 Delicious High Protein Meal Prep Ideas
Fats: Essential for Health and Vitality
While they often get a bad reputation, fats are an integral part of a healthy diet. Fats serve several important functions in the body, such as:
- Providing a concentrated source of energy: Fat is more calorie-dense than carbohydrates and proteins, making it an efficient source of energy storage.
- Supporting cell structure: Fats are essential for building cell membranes.
- Aiding nutrient absorption: Certain vitamins, like A, D, E, and K, are fat-soluble, meaning they require fat to be absorbed and used by the body.
Healthy sources of fats include avocados, some nuts & seeds, olive oil, fatty fish, and coconut oil.
It is crucial to focus on unsaturated fats and limit saturated and trans fats, which can be harmful to cardiovascular health when consumed in excess.
Related Reading: Beginner List Of Good Fats To Eat
As I mentioned, understanding macronutrients is key to maintaining a well-balanced and nourishing diet.
Carbohydrates provide the energy needed for daily activities, proteins support tissue growth and repair, and fats are crucial for overall health and vitality.
Striking the right balance of these macronutrients, along with other essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals, ensures optimal bodily functions and supports overall well-being.
I explore macronutrients in greater detail in other articles, examining their specific health benefits and the role they play in various lifestyles and dietary preferences. (Here’s one about carbohydrates.)
By developing a deeper understanding of macronutrients, you’ll be better equipped to make informed choices about the foods you consume, ultimately leading to a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Hopefully, that helps you choose more macro friendly snacks based on your goals!
Why So Many People Are Choosing Low-Carb & High-Protein Diets
If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re on a low-carb diet.
Whether you’re focused on increasing your protein or going “Keto” with a high-fat diet, this list of macro-friendly snacks is for you.
But if you’re new to this, it can be helpful to understand the science behind tweaking your macros.
I’m not going to argue for or against any particular diet style, but I will say that I believe most Americans are consuming more carbohydrates than necessary.
But let’s talk about protein a little more.
Why is protein so important?
You already know that protein is essential for muscle growth and retention, but there are more reasons to eat more of it.
Protein is the building block of our cells and is used to build up & repair tissue. It’s also what aids hormone production, which is directly related to your metabolism.
Proteins are made up of thousands of smaller units called amino acids. (These are essential for many bodily functions!)
Proteins make enzymes and hormones that help regulate things like metabolism and growth.
You should also know that protein contains fewer calories per gram of food than fats. There are 4 calories per gram in protein and 9 calories per gram in fats. (There are 4 in carbs.)
This means that you get better “bang for your buck” when eating protein.
But here’s where it gets really interesting.
Did you know that protein actually requires more energy to metabolize than carbs and fats?
In other words, you burn extra calories when your body is processing protein!
Because it takes longer to metabolize, your body feels “full” for longer.
And in that process, your caloric burn is higher, meaning that eating more protein doesn’t just help you build muscle, it helps you lean out, too!
This is definitely something to consider when setting your macros!
Why do low-carb diets get so much attention?
I’ll try to keep this short, but you should at least know this…
Carbohydrates are your body’s go-to source of energy.
When deprived of those carbs for immediate energy, your body is forced to tap into other sources of energy.
At some point, your body starts tapping into your fat stores to keep you going. The results can be some pretty impressive weight loss.
This is why Keto, Mediterranean, and Paleo-style diets are so popular!
How to Set Your Macros
Many people choose to track their macronutrient intake to help them stay accountable and really focus on cutting carbs.
But how do you know what to aim for? I’ll tell you!
Please note – while this isn’t a one-size-fits-all suggestion, it’s the best I can do without knowing your exact goals and current physical state.
Determining your required macros can depend on basic factors such as age, weight, and gender, but it also depends on your personal goals and training regime.
(Apps such as MyFitnessPal can help you set these goals and can help you calculate these numbers, too!)
Related Reading: What is the Mediterranean Diet? Questions Answered
However, the baseline recommendations for daily intake of macronutrients are as follows:
Protein: .8-1.2 grams x bodyweight in lbs
Protein calories = Protein grams x 4
Example: A 180 lb woman calculates her protein goal using the equation of 180 x .8 = 144 grams. To find out how many of her calories should come from protein each day, she multiplies 144 by 4 = 576 calories
Fat: 20-35% of daily intake (usually 30%)
Fat calories = Calorie goal x .3
Example: A woman has a calorie goal of 2,000 per day. She wants to set her fat goal at 30% of her diet. The equation is 2,000 x .3 = 600 daily calories from fat. To know her fat goals in grams, she uses 600 / 9 = approx. 67 grams.
Carbs: 45-65% of daily intake or remaining calories
Using the example above, we can subtract the protein & fat calories to calculate carb goals. 2000 calories – 576 – 600 = 824 calories from carbs. We then divide this number by 4 to find carbs in grams = 206 grams!
*Of course, if you’re going to be on a low-carb diet, you will want this to be on the lower end!
Remember, keep in mind that these are general suggestions that are based on USDA guidelines. They are the only suggestions I’m legally allowed to make as a personal trainer and nutrition coach.
You will have to test and tweak your own macronutrients. 🙂
Onto the best macro-friendly snacks for a low-carb lifestyle!
21 Best Macro-Friendly Snacks (Delicious High-Protein Choices)
1. Greek Yogurt with Berries
Greek yogurt is a protein-rich snack that also contains beneficial probiotics for gut health.
Top it with fresh berries like blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries to add natural sweetness, fiber, and antioxidants.
This creamy and delicious combo will keep you feeling satisfied and energized between meals.
2. Rice Cakes with Avocado and Cottage Cheese
Swap traditional crackers for whole-grain rice cakes, which are lower in calories and higher in fiber.
Spread a layer of creamy avocado and a dollop of protein-packed cottage cheese on top. Avocado provides healthy fats and vitamins, while cottage cheese contributes calcium and essential amino acids.
3. Veggie Sticks with Hummus
Cut up colorful vegetable sticks like carrots, celery, bell peppers, and cucumber, and pair them with a serving of hummus.
Hummus, made from chickpeas, is a great source of plant-based protein and contains healthy fats. This crunchy and savory combination is rich in nutrients and a satisfying way to get more vegetables into your diet.
4. Almonds and Dried Fruit Mix
Create a delightful blend of unsalted almonds and dried fruits like apricots, cranberries, or raisins.
Almonds provide healthy fats, protein, and fiber, while dried fruits offer natural sweetness and a dose of vitamins. This portable snack is perfect for busy days and will curb your sweet cravings.
5. Greek Yogurt + Peanut Butter Apple Slices
You have to trust me on this one – it’s so good!
First, mix up a large dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt (plain with some honey works too) and a spoonful of peanut butter. Next, slice up an apple and dip it in the mixture. It’s surprisingly delicious!
The combination of crunchy, juicy apple with creamy dip offers a satisfying blend of textures and flavors. (Yes, apples have carbs – but they also have fiber!)
Edamame, young green soybeans, are a fantastic source of plant-based protein, fiber, and essential nutrients like folate and iron.
Boil or steam a serving of edamame and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt or your preferred seasoning for a tasty and satisfying snack.
7. Cottage Cheese with Pineapple Chunks
Combine low-fat cottage cheese with chunks of fresh pineapple for a delightful sweet and savory snack.
Cottage cheese is rich in protein, while pineapple offers natural sweetness and vitamin C. The contrasting flavors and textures make this snack enjoyable and filling.
8. Sliced Turkey or Chicken Roll-Ups
Roll up slices of lean turkey or chicken breast and pair them with cucumber or bell pepper strips.
This snack is high in protein, low in carbs, and provides essential nutrients. You can add a smear of mustard or hummus for extra flavor.
9. Quinoa Salad Cups
Prepare a batch of quinoa salad cups by mixing cooked quinoa with diced vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers.
Add in some feta cheese or grilled chicken for additional protein. These colorful and nutritious cups are perfect for on-the-go snacking.
10. Dark Chocolate-Covered Almonds
Indulge in a sweet treat without compromising on nutrition by enjoying a small portion of dark chocolate-covered almonds.
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, and almonds provide healthy fats and protein. Stick to a small serving size to satisfy your sweet tooth without overdoing it on calories.
11. Tuna Salad Cucumber Bites
Create a delicious and protein-packed snack by mixing canned tuna with Greek yogurt or light mayo, diced celery, and a dash of lemon juice.
Spoon the tuna salad onto cucumber slices to make tasty and refreshing bites. This snack is low in carbs and high in protein, making it ideal for those looking to support their fitness goals.
12. Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with fiber, healthy fats, and plant-based protein.
To make chia seed pudding, mix chia seeds with your choice of milk (almond, coconut, or soy), and sweeten with a touch of honey or maple syrup. Let it sit in the fridge until it thickens into a creamy pudding.
Top with fresh fruits or nuts for added texture and flavor.
13. Sliced Pear with Ricotta and Honey
Enjoy the delightful combination of sliced ripe pear with a dollop of creamy ricotta cheese.
Ricotta is lower in fat than many other cheeses and provides a good amount of protein.
Drizzle a small amount of honey on top for a touch of sweetness. This snack is both satisfying and sophisticated.
14. Turkey Jerky
Turkey jerky is a portable and convenient snack that is high in protein and low in fat. Look for options with minimal added sugars and preservatives.
It’s a perfect on-the-go snack to keep you fueled during busy days or outdoor adventures.
15. Whole Grain Crackers with Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese
Swap regular crackers for whole grain versions and top them with smoked salmon and a smear of light cream cheese.
Smoked salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, while cream cheese provides a creamy and tangy element. This savory snack is a great way to incorporate more healthy fats into your diet.
16. Roasted Chickpeas
Roast chickpeas in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and your favorite seasonings, such as paprika, garlic powder, and cumin.
These crunchy bites are an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber, making them a nutritious alternative to traditional salty snacks.
17. Cottage Cheese and Salsa Dip
Combine cottage cheese with your preferred salsa for a quick and tasty dip.
Cottage cheese offers protein, while salsa provides a burst of flavor without added calories. Dip carrot sticks, celery, or whole-grain tortilla chips for a satisfying and guilt-free snack.
18. Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps
Transform leftover grilled or roasted chicken (or canned chicken) into a delicious protein-packed chicken salad.
Mix the shredded chicken with Greek yogurt or olive oil mayo, add diced celery, chopped walnuts, and dried cranberries for a burst of flavor.
(I like to add grapes, dill weed, and onion to mine – is that weird?)
Wrap it all up in large lettuce leaves for a refreshing and low-carb snack.
19. Boiled Eggs with Everything Bagel Seasoning
Boil some eggs and sprinkle them with everything bagel seasoning for a simple yet satisfying snack.
Eggs are rich in protein and essential nutrients, while the seasoning adds a burst of flavor. This snack is perfect for those who love savory treats.
20. Frozen Grapes with Yogurt Drizzle
Freeze fresh grapes for a refreshing and sweet snack. For an extra touch, drizzle them with a spoonful of Greek yogurt.
The frozen grapes provide a cooling sensation, and the yogurt adds a creamy contrast, making this snack a delightful summer treat.
21. Trail Mix
This is one of my favorite macro-friendly snacks because it is so versatile.
Revamp your usual trail mix by incorporating protein-rich ingredients like roasted chickpeas, almonds, and pumpkin seeds.
Add a hint of dark chocolate and dried cranberries for added antioxidants and a sweet touch.
Remember, while these macro-friendly snacks can be a great addition to your diet, portion control is essential.
Enjoying these snacks in moderation as part of a balanced diet will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and achieve your nutrition goals.
Incorporating these macro-friendly snack ideas into your daily routine will not only help you stay on track with your nutritional goals but also keep your taste buds satisfied and your energy levels steady throughout the day.
I know that some of my suggestions are a little odd. But sometimes, switching it up and trying new things makes all the difference when you’re trying to stick to a low-carb diet.
Enjoy exploring these healthy and delicious macro-friendly snack options!
Until next time,